VIU students will national award for work on MBA Games

Vancouver Island University photo

Members of the VIU MBA Games competing team proudly display the Queen’s Cup, given to the event’s overall winner. From left: Gurleen Kaur, Navin Yadav, Nneka Otogbolu, Hailey Millet and Adtya Kumar. Otogbolu also won the CBIE Elizabeth Paterson award, along with three other VIU MBA students, who were on the National MBA Games organizing committee when the Games were at VIU. 

Learn more about VIU’s Graduate programs here.

VIU unveils unique mobile mass spectrometry lab

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is unveiling a world-class research vehicle, the Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab equipped with state-of-the-art instruments, during an official opening event. A brief announcement will be followed by a demonstration of the mobile lab in action.

 The Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab, a.k.a. the Mass Specmobile, is unique in Canada and allows scientists to conduct leading-edge research related to air and water quality. The high-tech innovations include the ability to continuously measure trace level contaminants from a moving vehicle and on-site in real-time. In addition to providing excellent research training opportunities for students, this new facility gives researchers the ability to quickly identify, measure and track the movements of contaminants and provide information crucial to the protection of human and environmental health.

 The Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab and its equipment was developed at VIU by Dr. Erik Krogh and Dr. Chris Gill, co-directors of VIU’s Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL), and VIU students thanks to a $1-million investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and BC Knowledge Development Fund.

VIU online auction will help students

Whether you like golfing, skiing, hockey or fine dining, VIU’s Online Auction has a package for you to bid on, as David Forrester, VIU Advancement Manager, demonstrates. All proceeds support students in financial need. Photo: Vancouver Island University

171012 - Finding the money to pay for important things like textbooks, childcare and essential learning equipment like a laptop computer can be hard when you’re going to university. 

Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Online Auction aims to help. Every year, local businesses donate prizes that people can bid on, with all proceeds going to student awards, equipment and learning opportunities. This year, prizes have been grouped into experience packages with themes ranging from travel, spa and golf getaways, to dining experiences and even a tattoo package.

 The bidding starts Thursday, October 19 at 9 am and closes Thursday, October 26 at 9 pm.

 “What’s nice about the Online Auction is there’s something for everyone in the prize packages, whether you like to travel, enjoy the outdoors, shop or do things with your family,” says David Forrester, VIU Advancement Manager. “Lots of our regular bidders like the fact that 100 per cent of the proceeds go towards supporting students in need - so they’re getting something they really want and helping others at the same time. Plus, with the holidays coming up, it’s a great opportunity to get a head start on your shopping.”

To learn more or bid on items, visit This link will be live Oct. 19.

Red Seal standard available for VIU hairdressing students

Hairdressing Foundations Program alum Gabrielle Mayor plans to return to VIU to complete her Red Seal certification in the next two or three years. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

1011 - Vancouver Island University (VIU) Hairdressing student Gabrielle Mayor loves everything about her chosen trade, from cutting and colouring hair to creating elaborate up-styles.

 It’s a creative trade where she’s always learning something new, constantly reading up on the latest trends to stay relevant and building close relationships with people so she can meet their needs. But until this year, Mayor felt that people didn’t always take hairdressing seriously as a trade.

 Starting this year, students entering VIU’s Hairdressing program will be eligible for Red Seal endorsement - standardized training that’s recognized across Canada. The change has meant that the Hairdressing program at VIU is now a two-level program with a standardized exam and assessment at the end.


Nanaimo club inspires kids to learn Computer Science

0930 - Colourful animated characters, a bit of string and interactive puzzles are some of the tools Vancouver Island University (VIU) Computing Science students will use to help kids grasp the concept of coding.

 VIU is partnering with University of Victoria’s (UVic) Science Venture, a non-profit organization that offers hands-on learning opportunities for children, to host the Nanaimo Coding Club. The Nanaimo club runs on Thursdays from 6 - 7:30 pm from October 5 to November 9. The club is for Grades 5, 6 and 7 and people can register for $60.

 Student instructors will teach participants coding with the help of Scratch, a project created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, and Computer Science Unplugged, which is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through games, puzzles and the use of strings, crayons and other objects.

View the whole story online, visit VIU News.

Nanoose Canadian Forces test range open house Saturday

0907 - The Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges (CFMETR) will hold an open house Saturday (Sept. 9) from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the base at Nanoose Bay.

Visitors will get the opportunity to tour naval vessels, climb aboard army vehicles, check out a helicopter or take a a ride on one of the Zodiac boats.

The open house is free and is family-friendly, but pets are not permitted.


VIU focussing on sexual violence

0907 -Having a conversation about sexual violence can be difficult, but Vancouver Island University (VIU) wants to encourage discussions and raise awareness about consent and support services.

 VIU recently launched the Know More Campaign which is geared particularly toward students. It is an education program to raise awareness about sexual violence, consent and creating a sex-positive and healthy campus culture.

 “We want to let students know we are here to listen and we are here to provide support should they experience sexual violence,” said Marge Huntley, VIU’s Director of Student Affairs. “The point behind the campaign is to invite students to have conversations about consent and healthy sexual relationships. I think sometimes the reason students may not have these sorts of conversations is that they don’t feel that it’s OK. It’s OK to talk about sex and what they want or don’t want. We want them to know that there are people available and ready to listen and be supportive.”

 Huntley said VIU is committed to creating a safe, supportive and respectful learning environment free from sexual violence and misconduct. The Know More Campaign is part of that commitment.

 This semester the Know More Campaign is rolling out two themes: Know Consent and Know Support as a way to create opportunities for conversations. Other themes will be unveiled as the campaign progresses. Know Support is meant to raise awareness about where students and employees can turn to for help both through campus and community services. The aim of Know Consent is to raise awareness about personal boundaries in all relationships, not just in sexual relationships.

 “We need to ask before we touch someone, whether sexually or whether we simply want to give someone a hug. We need to respect people’s personal boundaries and whether they want to be touched or not,” said Huntley.

 Creating a campaign such as Know More is a great way to engage students said Chantelle Spicer, Vancouver Island University Students’ Union Women Students’ Representative. She said students don’t often read policy and procedure unless something bad happens. Diverse campaigns with social media, posters and a variety of events provide opportunities for students to think about consent in new ways.

 “By having opportunities to share our ideas and ask questions we are able to come to a deeper collective understanding. Conversations like these create spaces for a diversity of voices coming together on a complex and important topic,” said Spicer.

 VIU wants to create an environment where people regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexual orientation feel safe, respected and supported. Part of the campaign’s goal is to develop an atmosphere where people feel comfortable and safe enough to reach out and talk to someone if they have experienced an act of sexual violence.

 On May 19, 2016, the provincial government passed the BC Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, which required all post-secondary institutions to develop a stand-alone sexual and violence policy and procedure.

 VIU developed its policy and procedure after considerable input from both internal and external stakeholder groups as well as individual students, faculty and staff. VIU will host various events and training sessions in connection to the Know More Campaign during the coming months.

 Members of VIU’s campuses and the broader community are invited to join the conversation by using the #VIUknowmore hashtag on social media. VIU is hosting a Know More social media day on September 12.

 Know More is sponsored by the Moosehide Campaign Safe Space, Safe Place initiative and the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union (VIUSU).For more information about the Know More Campaign, visit


Education grants open house on Saturday (May 13)

WHAT: Big Dreams, Bright Futures – free event for Nanaimo families to learn more about the grants available to help them save for their children’s education after high school

WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017, 10 am – 2 pm

WHERE: Maffeo Sutton Park, downtown Nanaimo 

NANAIMO, BC: About 6,000 children in the Regional District of Nanaimo are eligible to receive free money from the government to put towards post-secondary education, but are not signed up to get that money. To help build awareness about these grant programs and get more children signed up, Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Bright Futures/Thuyshenum, a Leadership Vancouver Island team, have partnered to host a free, fun event for local families. 

On Saturday, May 13 from 10 am to 2 pm, families from Parksville to Ladysmith are invited to come to Maffeo Sutton Park for live music from The Kerplunks, hot dogs, face painting, a photo booth, bouncy castles and other fun activities for kids. Rolanda Murray, VIU’s Canada Learning Bond Coordinator, will be on-site to talk to parents about the Canada Learning Bond and other government grants, through which families can access up to $3,200 in federal and provincial grant money per child to put in a Registered Education Savings Plan. All grants can be accessed for free and don’t require any parental contribution.

“Having this money in the bank can make a huge difference in a child’s life – children living in low-income families who have as little as $500 saved towards their education after high school are more than four times more likely to enroll in a post-secondary program,” says Murray.

VIU has been actively promoting the Canada Learning Bond and other education grant programs in the community since 2013. Leadership Vancouver Island, a community-focused leadership development program, requires participants to form teams and work on a project to help a community group. The Bright Futures team chose to work with Murray to organize a large community event for families to promote the CLB.

The Royal Bank of Canada will be available to help their customers sign up for the grants. Murray and the team from Leadership Vancouver Island will help other families take the first steps towards signing up their children. Interested families should bring Social Insurance Numbers for both themselves and their children.

The Canada Learning Bond is a federal grant that helps low-income families start saving for their children’s post-secondary education by contributing $500 into each eligible child’s Registered Education Savings Plans when they sign up, plus an additional $100 each year after that up to a maximum of $2,000. The BC Training and Education Savings Grant is a one-time grant of $1,200 to all eligible BC children born in 2006 or later.

 For more info, visit VIU’s Canada Learning Bond homepage or visit the event link

Chamber shines the spotlight on top local businesses

0508 - Nineteen Nanaimo-based businesses and non-profit organizations received top honours at the 17th annual Business and Achievement Awards at the Port Theatre.

“Out of more than 125 nominations, 57 finalists were chosen by an independent judging panel and the winners were the top-ranked among those finalists,” said Kim Smyth, president and CEO of the chamber. “Businesses did not have to be chamber members to qualify. This was the largest group of nominees we’ve ever seen and the best-attended awards event we’ve held.”


VIU baking students head for Belize baking field school

Alisa Campbell, left, and Eve Barrieau are among the nearly two dozen students and faculty heading to Belize for a two-week baking field school next week. They are looking for donations of school supplies to give to a school they are visiting while there. Donations can be dropped off at the Lower and Upper Cafeterias until May 1.

Learning how to make chocolate from scratch is something Eve Barrieau never thought she’d get the chance to do, but in a week, the VIU Professional Baking and Pastry Arts student will be doing just that – in Belize. 

Barrieau, 21, from Ladysmith, is going on a two-week baking field school in Belize organized by Chef Ken Harper, one of the program’s instructors.

“Making chocolate is something most people in our area of the world never get to do,” she says. “It’s going be a very special, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m looking forward to the whole trip, taking it all in and learning from it. I hope to learn a bit more about myself and figure out some of my hopes and dreams while I’m there.”


VIU students have been fundraising all year, holding bake sales in both cafeterias on campus, to help raise the funds to go. Nearly two dozen students and faculty from VIU, Red River College in Manitoba and North West Community College in Terrace, BC, are going to the Central American country for a combination of culinary and cultural experiences.

Aboriginal students celebrate achievement at graduation

Desiree Lawson, graduating from VIU’s Bachelor of Natural Resource Protection program, pauses to allow her family to take a photo during the Aboriginal Graduation Ceremony held earlier this month.

Hugs, smiles and a few happy tears were the order of the day as Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Aboriginal students celebrated the successful completion of various degree, diploma and certificate programs earlier this month

There are more than 1,400 students who identify as Aboriginal studying at VIU – roughly 10 per cent of the total student population – and Services for Aboriginal Students has organized a separate recognition ceremony for them for nearly a dozen years. In 2016-17, more than 185 students who self-identify as Aboriginal graduated from degree, diploma and certificate programs, and several dozen students came to the Aboriginal Graduation Ceremony in the Malaspina Theatre on VIU’s Nanaimo Campus.  

At the ceremony, each student receives a gift as they are given their degrees, diplomas and certificates. Those receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees receive either a blanket if they are male or a wrap shawl if they are female. Métis students receiving a degree get a sash hand-woven by Métis community member Val Beauchamp. Students receiving diplomas or certificates receive a carved paddle.


Colonial past and legacies focus of conference at VIU

VIU students Troy Barnes, Chantelle Spicer, Morgan Mowatt and Kurstin Decker are presenting in the Everyone’s Responsibility: Indigenizing the Academy from a Student Perspective panel during the BC Studies conference hosted at VIU’s Nanaimo Campus May 4-6.

British Columbia’s colonial past and the legacies of colonialism is the timely topic of this year’s BC Studies Conference hosted at Vancouver Island University (VIU) May 4-6.

BC Studies is both an academic journal and the name of a biannual, multi-disciplinary conference hosted by a different BC university every two years. VIU last hosted a BC Studies conference in the 1990s. The theme for this year’s conference is (Un)Settling British Columbia, a theme organizers thought was appropriate given what VIU and other institutions have been doing around the topic of reconciliation, says Dr. Katharine Rollwagen, co-organizer and VIU history professor.

“We wanted a theme that would bring into focus the issues of Indigenous peoples and their communities,” she says. “The presentations at this year’s conference will focus on the colonial histories of British Columbia, and the legacies and consequences of the province’s colonial past – a timely topic given the work VIU has been doing in terms of engaging with our communities on the important topic of reconciliation. It’s an opportunity to engage in discussions about the province’s past, present and, ultimately, its future, especially in relation to Indigenous issues.”

More than 100 professors, students and community group members from across BC, Washington, the rest of Canada and even England will present their research over three days. From cultivating territorial claims through horticulture, to reconciliation in an intercultural context, to the politics of Indigenous title in BC, to using augmented reality and drones to recover, record and present Indigenous military history, Rollwagen is impressed with the diversity of the conference program. 

“Our presenters’ list shows there’s an international interest in what’s happening in BC, especially in terms of Indigenous history and issues,” says Rollwagen.

The conference opens Thursday, May 4 with a keynote address from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. VIU Chancellor Louise Mandell, one of Canada’s foremost Aboriginal rights lawyers, will also be moderating a panel discussion on May 4 based on the prize-winning book Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call. The conference theme is inspired by this book by Arthur Manuel, who passed away in January. 

In the book, Manuel, one of the most forceful advocates for Indigenous title and rights in Canada, wrote about the place of Indigenous peoples within the country’s political and economic space and sets out a vision for a new, sustainable Indigenous economy. Both the keynote address and the panel discussion will be livestreamed through the conference website.

Dr. Laura Cranmer, a VIU First Nations Studies Professor from ‘Namgis First Nation, says from her perspective, the (Un)Settling BC theme closely parallels the focus of her department’s core courses.

“I welcome the attention the conference brings to the essential work of questioning settler assumptions of authority over traditional territories and resources, and of re-asserting traditional knowledge systems, Indigenous languages and respectful stewardship of the environment,” she says. “I look forward to participating in the round table on ‘Unsettling Archaeologies,’ where I will be presenting examples of local Kwak’wala concepts and attitudes.”

Dr. Imogene Lim, a VIU Anthropology Professor, is presenting research undertaken by the Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island: Race, Indigeneity, and the Transpacific project.

“The theme is timely given the availability of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report, as well as changes in the province’s K-12 school curriculum,” says Lim. “What ‘we’ think of BC’s (and Canada’s) history has been unsettled, especially for those who never questioned the Eurocentric narrative that has, for the most part, been presented and taught.”

On Friday, May 5, there will be a free film screening of All Our Father’s Relations in the Malaspina Theatre (Building 310) at 7 pm. The film is about the Grant siblings, who travel to China from Vancouver in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother. After the film, Elder Larry Grant, Producer Sarah Ling and Director Alejandro Yoshizawa will take questions from the audience. Anyone from the community is welcome to attend this screening. 

The conference is open to the public and people can register for a single day or all three days. The film screening on Friday night is free. For rates, to register and for more information, visit

Milner Gardens designated "Canada 150 Garden Experience"

Milner Gardens and Woodland was officially recognized as a Canada 150 Garden Experience in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary

Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Milner Gardens & Woodland was recently selected as an official Canada 150 Garden Experience at the North American Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto. The designation comes in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday,

The designation, awarded by the Canadian Garden Council in collaboration with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, highlights Milner Gardens & Woodland on a website celebrating Canada’s Garden Route. The website encourages Canadians and tourists from around the world to explore some of the finest examples of ornamental horticulture the country has to offer. 

“As the 2017 garden-visiting season commences, we can’t think of a better honour with which to celebrate the birthday of Our Home and Native Land than being named a Canada 150 Garden Experience,” said Geoff Ball, Executive Director of Milner Gardens & Woodland. “We look forward to playing our part as visitors from across the country and the world prepare to experience the beauty and unique attractions we showcase here at Milner Gardens.”

Alexander Reford is President of the Canadian Garden Council, which is a national association representing provincial and national garden organizations.

 “Canada has a long-standing garden culture, from First Nations gardens that were here long before settlers arrived to the enormous variety of gardens that every culture has brought to this country since Confederation. Gardens – from modest kitchen and community gardens to celebrated botanical and public gardens – have played a role in defining and developing our Canadian aesthetic and quality of life,” said Reford.

The designation comes on the heels of another prestigious honor. Milner Gardens & Woodland was chosen as one of 10 Amazing Places within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve (MABR). The Amazing Places Project connects people with nature in Canada’s UNESCO biosphere reserves and was brought to BC through a collaboration between MABR, VIU and Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism.

Milner Gardens & Woodland sits on 70 acres of unspoiled natural beauty on the edge of an ocean-side bluff overlooking the Strait of Georgia. It is supported by the Milner Gardens & Woodland Society and VIU. To find out more about the gardens and coming attractions, please go to Milner Gardens & Woodland.

'Create' conference sheds light on student research

A team of biology students presented their research on the Douglas Fir Tree at the 2017 CREATE Conference. They outlined important aspects of the tree such as the importance of the tree to Aboriginal cultures for its spiritual and holistic properties and how the trees interact with each other through fungal networks.

 As the dust settles on what was for Vancouver Island University (VIU) the largest student-research showcase to date, organizers of the 5th annual CREATE Conference are able to reflect on the event that had more than 250 students presenting their work to the public. 

CREATE Conference coordinator Kelly Atkins helped pull the event together with the help of VIU student Alejandra Gomez. Atkins says thanks to an effective campus-wide advertising campaign and Gomez’s ability to spread the word through social media, more people kept stepping forward. As a result, participation was up 70 per cent over last year. 

“As organizers we just embraced the challenge and found ways to make room for them all,” said Atkins. “It was an incredible experience seeing the support of faculty members from virtually every department combined with the energy of the students. There was a buzz around the event that we hope will carry over to next year.”


VIU students to present at major conference

For more than a year, Vancouver Island University student Lan Le Diem Tran has been researching the role transportation plays in accessing leisure opportunities for millennials in Nanaimo.

As a result of her efforts, Tran has been selected to speak about her research in front of academics from around the world at the Canadian Congress on Leisure Research conference May 23-26 in Kitchener, Ont. Tran will be heading to the conference with fellow VIU students, Veronica Yang, Angélica Granja and Julia Froese.


VIU Carpentry students team with Habitat for Humanity

VIU Carpentry Foundation students Tyler Kay, right, Tyler Norn and Luke Escaravage are experiencing what it’s like on a real job site thanks to a partnership between the University and Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) carpentry students are building a strong foundation for a career in the construction industry, thanks to a partnership between the institution and Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.

Five years ago, the University entered a partnership with the non-profit group that sees VIU students helping to build Habitat homes. In return, the students get to apply some of the skills learned in the classroom to a real-world situation and experience what it’s like on a job site. Habitat for Humanity mobilizes volunteers and community partners to build affordable housing, which is sold with no down payment and an interest-free mortgage to low-income families, who must undergo a rigorous qualification process. The families chosen for the homes partner with Habitat by contributing sweat equity hours.



A look at dementia launches Schmooze's stage season

The Father is an exploration of who we are to ourselves when our signposts disappear due to the ravaging effects of Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. The Father will kick off Schmooze’s season April 21 at the Harbour City Theatre.

The production reunites Artistic Director Dean Chadwick with Schmooze Productions mainstay Jennifer Kelly, whom many will remember as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and Diana in Next to Normal.  Also starring is Gordon May, with Rob Atkinson, Terry Lynn Boyle, Mark Bunt and Valentina Cardinalli.

“The Father is an extraordinarily original and moving play: disorienting, funny,and theatrically thrilling,” says Chadwick. “The Father has been a sensation wherever it has played”.

The central figure of The Father is André and 80-year-old man of his own mind. He’s quick with a joke, especially one with an edge, and used to dominating conversations and relationships. But things are getting strange: His trusted watch goes missing, reappears, and is lost again. His daughter’s stories don’t quite add up. His furniture is disappearing and there are strangers at his table.. 

Box Office 250.739.0721 for tickets and subscriptions: 250.739.0721. 

Website: E-mail: 

Eden Gardens ready to replace Travellers Lodge

Construction is complete on a massive complex care facility in Nanaimo specializing in care for people with dementia.

Janeane Coutu, chairman of Nanaimo Travellers Lodge Society, told NanaimoNewsNOW the 130-bed, $30 million Eden Gardens on Northfield Rd. will be accepting residents shortly.

“We took possession of the keys this week, the building is ours and we're set to move in,” Coutu said. “The furniture will be arriving throughout the month and April 28 is moving day for all of our residents and staff.”


Spring Reuse Rendezvous this weekend

Spring cleaners can put unwanted toys to sporting goods at the curb during a Nanaimo-wide reuse event this April.

Reuse Rendezvous is Saturday and Sunday (April 8-9).

Residents can leave out household items at the curb, like books, sporting goods, toys and furniture, for bargain hunters to find during the longest-running reuse event, a City of Nanaimo press release shows.



Donation leaves legacy for technical theatre students

Eldred and Joyce Classen have created an award for VIU Technical Theatre students in honour of their son, Brent Classen, who passed away in 2015. Brent was well-known in the Island theatre community through his company, Whole Hog Productions Ltd. Photo by Don Bodger.

The show will go on for countless Vancouver Island University (VIU) Technical Theatre students, thanks to a generous donation from a couple who wanted to leave a lasting legacy in memory of their son.

Nanaimo residents Eldred and Joyce Classen lost their son, Brent Dana Classen, an alum of the Technical Theatre Diploma program, unexpectedly in 2015. He was 55. To honour his memory, they have donated $175,000 to the VIU Foundation to create an endowment fund that will ensure one student in financial need will be helped every year from now on.

The Brent Classen Technical Theatre Award covers all tuition costs and other fees for a year plus a $500 cheque towards books for students enrolled in VIU’s Technical Theatre Diploma. Starting next fall, one award will be available each year in perpetuity. The award is available to students who attended a public school on Vancouver Island, and can demonstrate both financial need and a passion for the stagecraft profession.



TV series Chesapeake Shores look for extras for new season

Hallmark Channel will be back on the mid-island for a second season of the television series Chesapeake Shores.

Local casting for extras is under way for the series which will begin filming April 17. Shooting was done primarily in Oceanside last year, but casting director Jacqui Kaese said they'll add more Nanaimo locations this season.

"I've read the first two scripts and I'm so excited," Kaese said. "It confirms that we're going to be shooting more locations in Nanaimo this year, which is so, so exciting for our community."


VIU group study rooms have gone high tech

Walk past the group study rooms at Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo Campus Library and you will see groups of students hard at work, typing away on laptops, scrawling notes in notebooks and talking and laughing with each other. Chances are good you will also see them watching seminars or reviewing PowerPoint presentations together on the new big-screen digital displays in the newly renovated rooms.

The renovations to the five group study rooms in the library – two on the main floor and three on the stacks floor – as well as the new viewing room on the main floor took place in December, 2016. 

In each room, a console was installed in the middle of the group study table with power outlets, USB hookups, Internet cables, an HDMI cable, other cable hookups and headphone jacks. At the back of the room is a big screen that can be hooked up to laptops via the centre console, on which students can watch videos, edit presentations and reports together, and discuss web content. There have also been upgrades to the ventilation systems and soundproofing so the rooms can accommodate this new technology.

See more on this story at VIU News


Vancouver Island Crisis Line busier than ever

The Vancouver Island Crisis Line is more popular than ever. Heather Owen, promotions and community relations co-ordinator with the line, attributed their rising use to increased awareness campaigns. The provincial initiative Crisis Line Awareness Week ran from Monday, March 27 to 31.

“We're getting out there into the community and talking to people about crisis and calling out when you're feeling overwhelmed.”


Rare albino raccoons on Newcastle Island

They may not have the fanfare Spirit Bears have on B.C.'s central coast, but Newcastle Island is home to its own rare blonde mammal.

A limited number of albino raccoons, who have a recessive gene, have lived on Newcastle Island for many years, but have proven to be extremely elusive.

Bill Merilees, a retired Nanaimo-based BC Parks employee, spent many hours on Newcastle Island during his career and was lucky enough to see the unique raccoons several times.


Aboriginal students to get trades training at VIU

A group of 10 Aboriginal students from the Campbell River area will soon be getting a unique educational opportunity thanks to a new partnership between Nanwakolas Council and Vancouver Island University (VIU).

The participants in the partnership will complete a five-week "Road Builder Foundation" course at VIU to give them an introduction to the skills required in the road building and forestry machinery sector. The course will provide them an overview of the industry including safe work practices, environmental requirements, introduce them to the tools and equipment used in the industry and the principles of civil engineering.


Cancer Society campaign kicks off in style

Supporting the Canadian Cancer Society is always in style. The society held its annual Daffodil Tea and Fashion Show on Sunday afternoon at the Nanaimo Golf Club.

The sold-out event drew 130 people, plus models and other volunteers. Sue Carlson, coordinator of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month programs, said the fundraiser is the annual kickoff to the April campaign.


University building bridges with Vietnam students

VIU students Kristy Burkgren (left), Xristos Vassilopoulos and Seth Fleming-Alho are all members of team Gold Standard. They anxiously watch as Dr. Brian Dick, who teaches the Engineering Design II course, loads 80 kilograms of weight onto the bridge deck they constructed. 

Bridges are being built across an ocean thanks to the annual Vancouver Island University (VIU) Engineering Design Competition.

Engineering students from both Vietnam’s Tra Vinh University (TVU) and VIU are competing to come up with designs and models based on real world bridges. The best designs and most functional bridges will be awarded prizes.

To facilitate the friendly challenge VIU students were tasked with designing a replacement for Long Binh Bridge #3 in the City of Tra Vinh, which is located just over 130 km south of Ho Chi Minh. The Vietnamese students are creating designs to replace Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge, which is currently scheduled for replacement.

The competition is part of the Engineering Design II course. For more information please go to VIU Engineering. To view this story online please go to VIU News


VIU visit a real eye-opener for California students

A little snow didn’t dampen the spirits of students and faculty visiting VIU from Pitzer College in California – they even posed in it along with VIU faculty, staff and Stuey the Sturgeon, the VIU Mariners mascot.

March 27,  NANAIMO, Phil Brayley was many miles from home, but on a recent visit to Vancouver Island University (VIU) from his home university – Pitzer College in Claremont, California – he left saying he feels more comfortable in his own skin than ever before.

Brayley, whose father is from the Tuscarora Nation and mother is from the Cayuga Nation, both part of the Iroquois Confederacy, is one of seven students and four faculty members from Pitzer who made the trip to Nanaimo recently as part of a mentorship exchange program the two institutions have embarked on together.

“I love the infrastructure here that acknowledges local First Nations cultures – the Gathering Place, the Elders, the artwork everywhere, even the paddle pictured at the bottom of the digital event screens in the cafeteria – something so little says so much about the people here and this institution,” he says. “It makes me feel more comfortable being Indigenous.”

Now, after seeing how VIU acknowledges Indigenous cultures, Brayley is inspired to take that observation home and lobby his school for more visual representations of local First Nations cultures on campus.

MORE at VIU News.


Nanaimo Special Olympian brings home the silver

Dennis Lynch with his medals
Spencer Sterritt photo

Nanaimo Special Olympian Dennis Lynch is still winning medals at the age of 51.

He returned to Nanaimo Sunday, March 26 from the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria with a silver medal in the 1K cross country skiing relay event.

Lynch said he was “a little bit nervous” going into the race and was happy and proud when he crossed the finish line second.

He also came fourth in the cross country 1K race freestyle and 2.5K race classical.


Unique Kids looking into relocating to old Woodlands school

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization is looking into relocating to the old Woodlands Secondary School site.

The non-profit provides services to children with neurological disabilities and has been subletting space underneath Thrifty Foods at Longwood Station, but with the deal expiring in February, the organization is looking at the vacant Strathmore Street school.

Barbara Read, organization board chairwoman, said Woodlands has amenities unavailable at its current location.


VIU high school project focusses on nature

Inspired by Nature students Ruby Woo (left), Isabelle Ramos, Catherine Shrubshall and Lucas De Souza Pedro from The High School at VIU put their incredible artwork up for sale to raise money for a camping trip that will help expand their understanding of the natural world.

A student art show at Vancouver Island University’s Museum of Natural History recently showcased some incredible work with nature as its theme – birds, trees, rivers, landscapes and more.

The masterpieces were created by students from The High School at VIU for a class called Inspired by Nature. Thanks to a unique approach embraced by science teacher Caitlin MacDonald and art teacher Laura Filgate, students spend four hours a week during school out in nature learning about the science of their surroundings and translating what they see and feel into art. 

Read More at  VIU News.



VIU heads overseas to recruit more students

VIU president and vice-chancellor Ralph Nilson says international students are at the core of their teachings.

Vancouver Island University leadership is abroad in an effort to strengthen the university's relationship with international schools.

VIU president Dr. Ralph Nilson's tour of Asia begins Friday at partner institution Chitkara University in northwest India. He and other VIU staff will then travel around India and Vietnam to various schools. They'll also attend the opening of the university's East Asia office in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nilson said international enrollment is a key part of VIU demographics, currently sitting at 18 per cent.

Nanaimo News Now

Nanaimo youth shelter will shut down

All signs point to an emergency shelter for Nanaimo's youth lasting just one winter.

While seven to 10 youth have used the Haliburton St. shelter lately, Tillicum Lelum's Courtney Defriend told NanaimoNewsNOW their agency and the City want a more proactive solution.

“This is somewhat of a band-aid approach and it's really given us insight on how big this issue truly is,” she said. “Moving forward it would be more around strategizing, looking at how we can shift our partnerships and collaboration to come up with some support that's further than just the shelter piece.”

Nanaimo News Now

City pays volunteers in community clean up program

Non-profit groups can clean up Nanaimo, earn recognition and generate money with the city’s Cleaner Community Partnership Program.

The city is inviting new groups to join its program, which sees non-profits earn money and recognition while making Nanaimo a cleaner, more attractive community.

For the first time, for-profit organizations are also invited to take part in the clean up, but will not be paid.


Women Who Care donate $48,000 to charitable causes

Since last June, a group of over 100 mid-island women have donated more than $48,000 to local charities.

The interesting part of the fund raising is that the group only meets once a month, and only for an hour. 100 Women Who Care Mid-Island spokesperson Vicki Swan said every member brings their cheque book and the name of a group to raise money for.

"In that hour, what we do, is we draw three different charity names out of a basket," Swan said. "And the different members who nominated those charities get up and pitch to our group about why we should support them and then by secret ballot we vote on which charity we want to support."

Nanaimo News Now

Reason to be Pretty hits the stage

Sarah Cashin, who stars as Steph, and Jon Greenway, who stars as Greg, in Western Edge Theatre’s play Reasons to Be Pretty rehearse a scene. The play premieres March 24 at Harbour City Theatre.— Photo: RACHEL STERN / The News Bulletin

Beauty is subjective. Like the saying goes it is in the 'eye of the beholder.'

Western Edge Theatre's latest production Reasons to be Pretty examines the issue and how words used to describe individuals can lead to emotional fallout and rifts between lovers and friends. Reasons to be Pretty, by playwright Neil LaBute, is a hard-hitting, gritty comedy that follows the lives of four people in their 20s.



Two families chosen for Habitat For Humanity homes

Two local families, one living in unfit conditions for children, the other survivors of hardship in the Middle East, will soon realize the dream of home ownership.

Habitat for Humanity mid-Vancouver Island selected two families to move in to their latest homes in their Extension Rd. development. Executive director Rob Hallam said Audrey Findlay and her three children are currently living in deplorable conditions.

Feras Saedam and Ruba Alshoura and their four children are the first refugee family the local Habitat chapter has been involved with, according to Hallam.

More at Nanaimo News Now


The woman behind the wheel of Nanaimo’s award-winning dealership

Ann Marie Clark

Sponsored by Steve Marshall Ford | Impress Branded Content

In an industry traditionally dominated by males, Ann Marie Clark’s car dealership, Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln, continues to motor ahead.

This March marks a milestone anniversary for the family business that has been serving the Nanaimo area since 1997 at 3851 Shenton Rd.

“I can’t believe it has been 20 years already,” said Clark, who was born into the auto business.

The milestone recently had the dealership’s head matriarch cruising down memory lane.



New counsellor at VIU to support Indigenous students

Noelle Hanuse

NANAIMO - Noelle Hanuse is on a quest – to reach out to Indigenous students at Vancouver Island University (VIU) who may not be aware of the counselling services available at the university or might have previously hesitated to access services.

One of VIU’s core values is to provide a welcoming and culturally relevant environment for Indigenous students. As part of supporting this value, VIU recently hired Hanuse, who is from the Oweekeno and Klahoose First Nations, to provide individual counselling sessions for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. She is also organizing mental health-themed workshops at Shq’apthut, VIU’s Aboriginal Gathering Place.